Why rehire, arrest illegal foreign workers at the same time, asks Tenaganita

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Tenaganita says foreign workers fear that they will be arrested if their application under the rehiring programme is unsuccessful. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 22, 2016.

Why is the government promoting the rehiring of undocumented foreign workers while going on a massive scale of arrest and deportation exercise, rights group Tenaganita asked today.

Its director, Aegile Fernandez, said this would only cause undocumented foreign workers to stay away from registering under the rehiring programme for fear they would be arrested if their application was unsuccessful.

Putrajaya embarked on the Rehiring Programme for Illegal Workers on February 15, to run untill December 31, with the objective of legalising foreign workers and assess the actual number of workers needed by industries.

Employers who have hired undocumented foreign labour, would have to pay RM1,200 to legalise each worker.

Fernandez told The Malaysian Insider today that Tenaganita had been receiving calls from employers and migrants who were concerned that workers would be arrested if they were not accepted under the programme.

“Employers are also confused as they believe that, if their migrant workers fail in the registration process, then they may be held responsible and may be fined or arrested.

“The fear of arrest will stop employers and migrants from registering for the rehiring programme and once again we will continue to have undocumented migrants.

“History will be repeated because we choose to be a punitive state,” she said.

As such, Fernandez urged the government to give time for the rehiring process to be carried out.

She said this way, migrant workers can decide if they want to register under the programme or return home.

Fernandez also pleaded with the Malaysian Employers Federation to urge their members to register their undocumented workers, especially those in small-medium industries.

A high number of Bangladeshis and Indonesians are employed in these industries, especially from the failed 6P programme.

“It was not the fault of these workers and they should be registered without conditions attached,” she added.

Fernandez also stressed the need for all stakeholders to come together and iron out their differences over the migrant labour issue, adding that it was necessary so that Malaysia would cease to be referred to by the international community as a nation practising human trafficking especially in the area of forced labour. – February 22, 2016.



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